The best Asian Pears


#1

What are the best Asian Pears? When i say best I mean flavor, disease resistance, zone 5 compatibility so winter dieback is not an issue. The list below are ones I’m researching and considering growing. Can you look at the list and see if you have experience with them or if there are ones I’ve missed?
Drippen’ Honey
Chojuro
HoSui
ICHIBAN NASHI
Ishiiwase
Kikusui
Korean Giant
MISHIRASU
NIITAKA
NIJISSEIKI
Seigyoku
SEURI
Shinko
SHINSEIHO
Shinseiki
Shinsui
Tennoshui
TOKYO GOLD
TsuLi
YaLi
Yoinashi
YONGI
20th Century


Asian Pears Requirements
#2

I’m currently growing Drippen’ Honey and would rate those as excellent in flavor and fruit size, moderately disease resistant, and excellent for zone 5 in terms of winter hardiness.


#3

I’ve had Shinseiki and Hardy (Korean) Giant. Both were very good, Shinseiki is nice because it’a very early. Not enough experience to say anything regarding disease, but seem easy to grow.


#4

Ampersand,
Sounds great i’m glad those Asian Pears (Pyrus serotine) Shinseiki and Korean Giant are good. I’m going to be growing 15 each of the Korean giant and Hosui soon. Several people have said they are flavorful but with pears they vary a lot by region.


#5

I have experience growing Korean Giant, 20 th century, Hosui and Shinko.

Shinko was removed. It was disease resistant. I got smallish fruit that were rather bland. It was russeted. After a couple of yeras of bland tasting fruit, I removed the tree.

Hosui younger tree. Russeted fruit, on a smaller size, a bit better than Shinko taste-wise. So far, disease resistant.

20th century - thin yeollow skin. Mildly sweet. Tasted sweeter this year when the summer was quite dry. Small fruit. Got blossom blight one year. Went biennial when not thinning well.

Korean Giant. Very productive. Disease resistant. Large russeted fruit, sweet and crunchy. A keeper.


#6

Thank you mamuang. There is a lot of variations in fruit descriptions. Looking forward to Korean Giant and Hosui. Your description of KG makes me think I made the right choice to get 15 of those. I’m hoping Tony in Omaha sees this thread because he is within a short distance of me and grows several Asian pears. My Asian pears Drippen Honey thus far are not very tall but they are producing good for shorter trees.


#7

I bought Hosui because it got good reviews when we were at GW. So far, it does not impress me. Also, in my fridge ( uneven coldness), they do not keep long. 20th century and KG keep longer.

Tony must have been busy at work. You could PM him directly. He is very prompt with responses.


#8

In order by fruit quality:

Shinko- Not sweet (10-11 brix), but crunchy. Not impressive. I have it planted against a SW facing wall to get more heat (I heard it needed that), but maybe it needs more sun.

Hosui- I’m not growing this one, but Alan generously gave me several grocery bags from his tree. I find it OK (and I think Alan likes it even less), but my wife and another Chinese family we shared with thought it was wonderful. I think they liked the juicy crunch and weren’t bothered by the low brix.

Yoinashi- First year for mine to bear and it was moderately good. 12-13 brix.

20th Century- The only yellow pear on this list. I like this one quite a bit. It tastes nice and sweet, with similar brix to Yoinashi (12-13), though I like the flavor better. My wife doesn’t like it as much as some of the other AP though. It could be that I pick it at a point where it doesn’t have the full crunch. My tree gets similar or less sun than the Yoinashi, but probably gets more heat, as it is partially surrounded by large rocks.

Korean Giant- Everyone’s favorite. High brix (12-15, though I’ve seen others report higher). Huge size and nice crunch. Yellow jackets can do a number on it though. Mine is right next to the Shinko on the SW facing wall. It mostly skipped producing this year for me, which could be due to the lack of sun (wall blocks morning sun). I grafted a branch of it onto the 20th Century 2 years ago (for pollination at the time), and am now looking forward to seeing if the location will make a difference in fruit quality and regularity of bearing.


#9

In my area (zone 9 / 10) , Chojuro bests the others easily for flavor. It is susceptible to blight for me, though.

Korean Giant has very good flavor and is an outstanding keeper. I have also had blight trouble with it.

Hosui has flavor in between Chojuro and Korean Giant, is more reliable, but does not keep as well.

The rest that I have tasted (Shinko, Shinseki, Shinsui, 20th Century, Ya Li) are a class below the others, by my tastes, for flavor.


#10

Bob,
Thanks for the detailed review. Sounds very consistent with what others are saying. Korean Giant sounds wonderful and everything else sounds mediocre. Kanss sun is hot and makes fruit sweet but I have a feeling KG will always be at the top. I wonder if hosui is .more authentic tasting and crunchy is more authentic? Yoinashi sounds very good and I’mllooking forward to trying that one.


#11

Vohd,
Chojuro sounds good there. I once had someone say it tasted like butterscotch. Hosui and Korean Giant again sound like they rate higher than the others. Thank you for your review I really appreciate it. The 20th century sounds variable by site for both flavor and disease resistance. We definitely know by all accounts its behind Korean Giant in all ways. Hosui does not sound like a keeper even when refrigerated by anyone’s description.


#12

Hartmanns has a good description at their website http://www.hartmannursery.com/AsianPr.htm
This is what they said

ASIAN PEAR TREES

(in approximate order of ripening)

ICHIBAN NASHI Medium size, lightly golden russet skin, light yellow flesh is tender, crisp, juicy and sweet. Moderately vigorous, productive, spur bearing tree. One of the earliest to ripen-about mid August in western Washington.

KOSUI A medium sized (9-14 oz), early maturing, light green to yellow-bronze fruit with a slight russet. Flesh is tender crisp, juicy, sweet with no acid. Tree is vigorous, upright, a strong grower, and moderately productive. Fruit quality is good to very good. Stores about 2 months. Ripens late August.

SHINSEIKI Popular early season variety. Fruit is yellow-green to pale yellow, smooth with small lenticels, size is large. Flesh is white, sweet, firm, crisp and juicy. Tree is moderately vigorous, dense, very productive and precocious. Fruit quality is good to very good. Excellent storage life, about 7-8 months. Fruit ripens in late August, early September. Also known as New Century.

MISHIRASU Huge early ripening pear. Rough brown russet skin, some weighing a pound or more. Unattractive appearance, but good flavor. The crisp, crunchy flesh makes it a good choice for salads as well as fresh eating. One of the largest early ripening Asian pears. It ripens in mid September.

CHOJURO Medium to large, flattened, brown russet greenish fruit with thick skin. White flesh is crisp like an apple when ripe; mild, slightly aromatic flavor. Keeps in cool storage until February. Medium size, spreading, vigorous, early bearing tree; reliable annual bearing tree with somewhat drooping habit. Somewhat prone to overbearing; needs some thinning. It ripens in mid September.

NIJISSEIKI Best known Asian pear. Fruit is green to greenish yellow, smooth with some lenticels. Fruit size is medium (9-14 oz.). Flesh is white, firm, crisp, very juicy and sweet with a refreshing tartness. Fruit quality is good to very good. Tree is of moderate vigor, upright and productive. Stores about 5 months. Ripens in mid September. Also known as 20th Century.

SHINSEIHO Rather large fruit with light yellow to green fruits that tend to be sweet with a small bit of tartness. The flavor improves after developing in storage for a couple of weeks. Ripens in mid to late September.

KIKUSUI Large yellow-green skinned fruit. Flesh is white, sweet with a light tartness, firm, crisp and juicy. Tree is of medium size and vigorous, slightly spreading and very productive. Fruit must be heavily thinned to obtain size. Fruit quality is very good, skin can be tender. Stores well, about 6-7 months. Sometimes mistaken for NIJISSEIKI. Ripens mid to late September.

SHINKO Fruit is medium to large (14-20 oz.) with a brown to golden brown russet. Flesh is yellowish white with a good juicy, sweet flavor. Fruit quality is very good to excellent. Tree is of medium size, average vigor and a heavy bearer. Stores 3 to 4 months. Ripens mid October.

NIITAKA Large to very large (14-26 oz.), orange-brown russet pear. Flesh is somewhat coarse, juicy, sweet (more tart in Puget Sound region), slightly off-white. Tree is fairly large, but somewhat weak. Fruit quality is fair to good. Stores 5 to 6 months. Ripens mid to late October.

SEURI Round shaped Chinese pear. Skin is unusual, a yellow under color with a mottled partial russet. Flesh is bright white, good crisp texture, aromatic, floral, sweet flavor. Tree is very vigorous and strong, heavy bearer. Fruit quality good and size is large to very large. Short storage life, only about 4 weeks. Ripens in late October.

KOREAN GIANT Very large (16-32 oz.), attractive orange-brown russet, round pear. Flesh is firm, crisp and juicy sweet. Tree is very vigorous, large, upright. Long storage life, about 8 to 9 months. It is a Korean pear. One of the best tasting, late ripening varieties. Ripens late October, early November.

The following varieties are available for trial. Please ask if you would like more information on any of them: MEGIETSU, OLYMPIC, TOKYO GOLD, TSU LI, YA LI, and YONGI.


#13

Clark,
As I recall, Reports on Shinko is different between East Coast and inland growers. It seems inland growers are more impressed with it than the east coasters.

I heard good things about Kosui, too.

Hartmann’s description is impressive until they separate Olympic from Korean Giant. As far as I know, it is the same variety.

My Hosui and 20th century do not get as much sun as Korean Giant. That could contribute to why they do not taste very sweet.

Korean Giant can weigh a pound each when thinned well. Fortunately, my tree is very productive and has not gone biennial (yet).


#14

20th Century has a very different flavor profile from Chojuro, Hosui, and Korean Giant which share a common flavor like what is reported as butterscotch in Chojuro. 20th Century does not have that and tends to sprightly. If that suits your taste more, you might not want to write it off early. Chojuro does have the strongest and best expression of the “butterscotch” flavor of those that I have tasted. To my taste it has some notes of caramel, brandy and the toasty vanilla flavors barrels impart to aged spirits.


#15

My trees are too young to fruit so my only experience with Asians are as unmarked fruits from the grocery store. I’ve had a few that were absolutely dynamite and I’d rank as one of my favorite fruits but more often than not the Asians I’ve bought this year aren’t very tasty at all. They are always juicy and crunchy but they all lack flavor. My combo trees grow sinsheiki, nijiseiki, yongi, and Kosui. I’m going to try to find some Korean giant scions next spring as I’ve heard it truly is the best of the asian pears.


#16

For Texas and likely most of the South the best quality Asian for me is hosui. Problem is fb. Quality was really really good though. Nijiseki was good but had real issue with fb. I’ve heard that chojuro has really good quality fruit but I’ve not grown that one yet. I’m really curious about kikusui and kosui. I’ve heard that seuri when dead ripe can be good too. I’m still waiting for tennosui to fruit and I have been told that one is outstanding.


#17

It’s fascinating how much regional variation there really is. Hosui and Korean Giant are going to be good choices for the current deal I’m working on and hopefully they will be good quality in Kansas. Im not sure how long the Drippin ’ honey patent is good for but as soon as it expires i will put on many more of those trees. I will be frantically looking for chojuro wood this spring. I have heard people say that drippen honey is the same as MISHIRASU.


#18

I bought my Asian pear tree as a 4 in 1 with Shinko, Hosui, 20th Century and Seigyoku varieties on it. Later I grafter Korean Giant on it.
Out of these five, my favorite is Shinko in terms of taste, texture, size and juiciness. It’s very sweet if properly thinned. It’s getting plenty of sun though. It is precocious and fb resistant too. It was the only variety that bloomed and set fruit the 2nd year after planting when the tree had only four varieties on it. Korean Giant is sweet too but it’s the denser texture that I don’t care for.

My 2nd favorite is Hosui but it’s not as fb resistant as Shinko. Luckily this guy is pumping new shoots faster than fb can destroy it, unlike 20th Century and Seigyoku.


#19

Maybe with us getting a lot of sun and high heat in Kansas we could grow shinko. I may try a couple of 20th century to because some people rate it so highly. @tonyomahaz5 what are the Asian pears you are having the best luck with and recommend?


#20

Clark,

Sorry for a late response, The surgery schedule is getting pretty long by the day because with all the deductibles were met plus the farmers were done harvesting their crops and they came in now to get their knees and hips replaced. Here are my top Asian pears:1) Korean Giant, 2) Shinko (juicy, productive, and good sugar for me in Omaha), 3) Mishirasu,4) My own seedling of Shinseiki (not sure what the pollinator was but super productive, sweet, and very juicy, 5) Ya Li ( I like the crunch and mild sweet of this one, 6) Yoinashi. I am still waiting for my Fragrance Asian pear to fruit and several varieties from the USDA to fruit.

Tony